Baghdaddy byJasmine Naziha Jones. The Royal Court Theatre, Jerwood downstairs, Sloane Square, London SW1 to 17 December 2022. 4****. William Russell

The fall of Saddam and the 1991 Iraq war does seem to have been rather overtaken by events which slightly lessens the impact of this undeniably inventively staged and interesting play directed by Milli Bhatia. Darlee played by the playwright is an eight year old living somewhere in England with her Dad, an Iraqi refugee, who suddenly realises that she is not really English, that she comes from and belongs to another world. What we get is her coming to terms with that and getting an understanding of the problems her father is facing and has faced, and, of course, her family back in Iraq. It staged with great style on a handsome set consisting of a series of steps with a landing or two on which some of the action takes place as furniture slides on and off. The other three members of the cast play a vast range of people – real and imaginary – as we follow her father’s experiences from the age of 17 to 42. The result is stimulating and provocative even if it is yesterday’s war that we are being told about. It is not theatre of great ideas, rather it is theatre making use of everything an actor can do, all the tools they can lay hands upon, to show how Darlee learns about the reality of the life her father left behind. The only problem was on press night clearly there was a section of the audience for whom it was all too real and reacted so vociferously that it leaves the others wondering why they find something so instantly funny and worth cheering rather than having their own thoughts. The play leaves you wondering about those new Britons, the children of refugees – the latest are from Ukraine – who have no links to the land of their parents, they were born here, but who are still Ukrainians as well as being British.

Dad: Philip Arditti.

Elder Qareen: Souad Faress.

Darlee: Jasmine Naziha Jones.

Young Qareen: Hayat Kamilla.

Jinn: Noof Ousellam.

Director: Milli Bhatia.

Designer: Moi Tran.

Lighting Designer: Jessica Hun Han Yun.

Sound Designer: Elena Pena.

Movement Director: Adi Gortier.

Fight Directors: Rachel Brown-Williams & Ruth Cooper-Brown.

Voice & Dialect Coach: Edda Sharpe.

Production Photographs: Helen Murray.

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